Analysis 14:18 20/02/2012

Iran, Armenia share interests in regional issues: 20-year-old history of diplomatic relations

Author Armen Israyelyan

In these days the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution is celebrated in Iran. The Islamic Revolution began on January 8, 1978 by a large manifestation of protest of students During the whole year the manifestations of protest held by different stata of the society were over on February 11, 1979, headed by the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Emam Khomeinia announcing the destruction of the shahs` government and the establishment of the Islamic system.

The strategy of foreign policy of Iran was changed considerably after the Islamic Revolution. According to the newly admitted constitution, the execution of general provisions of foreign policy was dedicated to the president of the Republic and the Ministry of Foreign affairs, directed by the Supreme Leader of Iran and the Supreme commander of AF. The principle “ No West, no East”, as well as the landmark to leave in peace with neighbours and to conduct a policy of good neighbouring relations were included in the agenda of foreign policy of the country in order to exclude the presence of superpowers in the country.
In September 1991, after the crumbling of the Soviet Union, when the independence of the Republic of Armenia was proclaimed. Iran was the first country that officially declared the independence of Armenia on December 26, of the same year.
On February 9, 1992, Raffi Hovhannisyan, the Armenian minister of foreign affairs and Ali Aqbar Velayati, the minister of foreign affairs of Iran sign in Tehran a declaration for establishing diplomatic relations.

On February 28, 1992, Ali Aqbar Velayati, the minister of foreign affairs of IRI makes his first official visit to Yerevan. The purpose of the visit was to make some consulations about international and regional problems and the Iranian deligation announces its readiness about the regulation of the antagonism of Nagorno Karabakh to assume its negotiating mission, as a result of which on March 16, 1992, a document is farmed and published, which refers to the antagonism of Karabagh, assumption of negotiating mission of IKI Velayati makes an offer where he witnessed that Iran is ready to appear with negotiating mission for studying the possible ways of regulation of Karabagh antagonism.

On May 6, 1992, a delegation headed by the president of RA Levon Ter-Petrosyan arrives in Tehran on invitation of the IRI president Hashemi Rafsanjani. The sides negotiated about the antagonism of Nagorno Karabakh among other questions. On May 8, 1992 the RA president L. Ter-Petrosyan , the attorney of the president of Azerbaijan Yaghub Mamedov, as well as the president of the negotiator country Iran H. Rafsanjani, signed a common declaration on the regulatio of the opposition of NK. After he high level mutual visits between two countries, the sides decide to open embassies in each other ` s countries. In April 1992, the IRI embassy is opened in Yerevan and in December the RA embassy is opened in Tehran. Vahan Bayburdyan is appointed the attorney of the affairs of RA in Tehran and mutually Bahman Ghasemi is the attorney of the affairs of IRI in Yerevan.
In 1994, the Armenian- Iranian relations are raised to the level of ambassadors and Hamid Reza Niqqar Esfahani is appointed the ambassador , who is then replaced by Mohammad Farhad Qoleyni and Alireza Haghighia. Actually Ali Saghaian is the IRI ambassador in RA.
Vahan Bayburdyan, who was formerly the RA attorney becomes the first ambassador of the third Republic of Armenia in Iran. During the following years the last is replaced by Gegham Gharibjanyan and Karen Nazaryan. Actually Grigor Araqelyan is the RA ambassador in Tehran.

In order to develop the economic – commercial relations between Iran and Armenia a bridge is being built on the river Araks after the exploitation of which Iran becomes a transit way for Armenia to the transmission of loads to the countries of Persian Gulf. The transmissions of loads are increased for 3-4 times.

More than 200 Armenian- Iranian enterprises started working actively in Armenia. Thanks to the economic interaction, Iran holds the first place in the exterior commerce of Armenia. A branch establishment of the Iranian bank “ Mellat” is opened in Yerevan. The aerial communication between two countries was realized by the Iranian companies “ Aria Tour”, “Caspian” and “ Armenian air roads”.
On 1995, corresponding agreements are made about the Iranian-Armenian gasmain, the high volt line of transmission line, the building of the common hydroelectric power station on the river Araks.
On 25-27 December, 2007, a delegation headed by the second Armenian president Robert Kocharyan visited Iran for four days and had meetings with the IRI Supreme leader Ali Khamenei, president seyyed Mohammad Khatami, minister of foreign affairs Qamal Kharazi and minister of defense Ali Shamkhani.
On September 8-9, 2004, the IRI president seyyed Mohammad Khatami makes a return official visit to Armenia. In the frames of the visit to Armenia, M. Khatami visited also he monument of the Armenian genocide to pay respect to the innocent martyrs that are victims of the genocide.

Generally, the mutual visits executed in the level of presidents certified the dynamic development of bilateral relations. On July5 , 2006, the president R. Kocharyan made a labour visit to Iran, where he meets the newly elected president of IRI Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
On March 19, 2007, the official ceremony of the opening of the gasmain is held in participation of the RA and IRI presidents, and by the end of 2008, the building of the second part of the Iran- Armenia gasmain is finished.
In October 2007, the IRI president Mahmud Ahmadinejad arrives in Armenia for a two days` visit. During the visit in Yerevan a memorandum of mutual understanding between Iran and Armenia is signed, the sides appear with a common declaration. The president of Iran is granted with a nomination of an honourable doctor of the Yerevan State University. On April 13, 2009, the Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan `s official visit to Tehran revived the Armenian-Iranian relations. During it the president of Armenia had meetings with the IRI Supreme leader seyyed Ali Khamenei, president Mahmud Ahmadinejad, president of Mejlis Ali Larijani and the Secretary of the Supreme Council of National Security S. Jalili.
The RA president specially mentioned that Iran had proved many times that is a confident friend having a pivotal importance for Armenia. In Serzh Sargsyan`s words Armenia has always felt the support of Iran and in the years of blockade the emergent products were imported to Armenia by the territory of Iran.

The president Serzh Sargsyan`s next labour visit to Iran took place on March 27, 2011. During the meeting the presidents of two countries gave importance especially to the successfully developing interaction in energetics, transport, culture and some other domains , they reverted also to the project of the building of the Iran –Armenia railway. In the frames of his visit to Tehran Serzh Sargsyan took part also in the celebrations organized for the holiday of Novruz.
In December 2011, the IRI president Mahmud Ahmadinejad makes a return visit to Armenia. In the frames of the visit agreements concerning the increase of the volumes of commerce circulation, development of substructures, economy, energetics, transport, industry and domains of investment were signed.

Afterwards, the presidents of Armenia and Iran appeared with a common declaration expressing contentment for high level relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The relations are based on the friendship of many centuries of the nations. The presidents reaffirmed their decisiveness to continue developing the bilateral friendly mutually profitable relations.
On February 9, 2012 was the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations of Iran and Armenia. The political, economic and cultural relations of two countries develop year by year, including new programs.

Now, in the working agenda of the governments of two countries are the projects of building of the passageway Iran- Armenian, railroad, oil-pipeline, the electric power stations on the river Araks that will be built with the help of the loan provided by the Asian development bank, about the realization of which corresponding agreements were signed and now the preparatory works of the realization of the above mentioned projects are done. Iran and Armenia collaborate actively also in international organizations , the points of views of two countries about the problems of region coincide. During the meetings of the presidents of Armenia and Iran the point of view, according to which all the countries, including Iran, have the right of using nuclear energy peacefully, is underlined.
Let us mention, that Iran , the first negotiator country involved in the regulation of the antagonism of NK, has conducted and conducts a balanced policy which is appreciated greatly by the Armenian government. It must be mentioned, that the role of the Armenian community in Iran, that was given exclusive rights and opportunities after the Islamic revolution in Iran, is on the basis of the development of the relations of Iran and Armenia. The Armenian churches and historical monuments are conserved and restored by the direct support of the government of Iran. According to the constitution of the country the Armenian community in Iran is represented also in the IRI Mejlis by its two representatives.

Studying the past and present of the political relations of Armenia with its direct neighbour and friend Iran , particularly analyzing the 20 year` s history of diplomatic relations of Armenia and Iran , we can state that both countries have the power to continue developing their political, economic and cultural relations during the next decades.

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